Topic: "Speedy Gonzales" (3)
Curiosity may not be a feline asset, but Frodo has never been shy about asking questions, especially relative to something that has previously caught his interest. Challenged by a daunting amount of material whose perusal was required vocationally, and a constant stream of print media coupled with all of the wisdom of the world in book format, Frodo found himself adrift in the volume of it all. The Evelyn Wood course for "reading dynamics," (aka speed reading) magically appeared before him one day, and he decided to investigate. Without casting any aspersions upon the quality of the product, Frodo came away from the introduction with a reaction similar to his very first visit to a used-car lot.
Later that day, Frodo decided to visit the Training Officer in his early megalithic model of Mount Doom to see, perhaps, if there might be some information about improving his reading skills. It might be added that the Training Officer was also a physical-fitness advocate, and any excuse to have her lean over one's shoulder was certain to improve Frodo's circulatory flow. Frodo found that not only were there coursebooks available for his personal research , but there was a course, taught by his employer as an employee enhancement. The Training officer was also identified as the Instructor in said course.
"Well," thought Frodo, "self-improvement is good." Frodo checked out the coursebook, and signed up to take the next scheduled classroom training. Frodo set aside all the rest of his reading, and devoured the textbook. He also regularly dropped by the Training Office in order to check on the plans for the soon-to-be-conducted class, and to admire the view. What was astounding is that Frodo really got into this speed-reading stuff, simply because it commenced with a few pieces of scientific data which caught his attention.
The eye "reads" only when it is still. As one's eye moves up or down, side-to-side, it absorbs nothing. The skill of speed-reading is to minimize the number of times that one's eye is still per line of print, and to assimilate as many words as possible therein. The student is taught to concentrate on the middle of each line of print, and to widen the zone of vision to encompass the entire line. Then to move quickly down the center of the page to the next line. That contrasts with looking at each line in three or four glances. The speed of reading follows, and the eye, because it is moving once per line, as opposed to multiple times per line, is using less energy, and the reader's eyes become less tired. The science of it all dictates that the number of words "read" is limited by the number of times that the eye focuses on a central spot and remains still.
Frodo was startled by the revelation. He recognized that the phenomenal numbers in advertising for "reading dynamics" were obviously inflated beyond the physical. He rushed to the Training office in order to discuss this outrage with the Training Officer. Frodo was surprised to find that she was on "extended leave," but that she had left a note for Frodo. In the note, she apologized for her absence, and explained that she and her boyfriend had decided on a whim to get married and had already left on their honeymoon.
The note went on to request that Frodo "teach" the course in her absence. As she noted, Frodo had already absorbed the course material, and was an accomplished classroom instructor himself. It would be a great favor and, suffice it to say, be a nice wedding present.
Professor Frodo had 33 students. Many of them were very well-known people and had very responsible positions in Middle Earth. Surprisingly, it went very well. When the course evaluations came back, Frodo was roundly congratulated by all the participants. Subsequently, Frodo was offered the opportunity to take over the newly-vacant position of Training Officer. The incumbent would not be returning to work. He turned it down.
His heart just wasn't in it.